Powerade wrestling notebook: Loaded tournament was brutal for WPIAL’s best

Friday, December 31, 2021 | 3:18 PM

It says how tough the 55th annual Powerade Wrestling Tournament was this season when only 26 wrestlers from the WPIAL earned medals and only six reached the finals.

The competition was extremely difficult.

“All these wrestlers are amazing,” Franklin Regional coach Matt Lebe said. “This was the toughest tournament we’ve been in.”

There were 65 teams in the tournament, including four of the top five teams in the country in Wyoming Seminary, Blair Academy (N.J.), Malvern Prep, St. Edwards (Ohio), and Bergen Catholic (N.J.).

Numerous wrestlers were ranked No. 1 in their state by FloWrestling, and five were ranked No. 1 in the country.

There were champions from the 2020 tournament – Latrobe junior Vinny Kilkeary and Kiski Area senior Enzo Morlacci – who didn’t reach the semifinals.

Kilkeary placed fifth at 120 pounds and Morlacci seventh at 160.

“You can’t take anything for granted in this tournament,” Kilkeary said. “You can’t take people lightly and keep on going, nonstop wrestling.

“I learned that I need to sharpen my skills even more. I’m not there yet, I need to keep going and keep hustling.”

Kilkeary did reverse his quarterfinal-round loss to Notre Dame-Green Pond senior Adam Schweitzer. He beat Schweitzer, 3-1, in the fifth-place match after losing 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

“When I saw the teams entered, our goal was just to finish in the Top 15 and finish as the top WPIAL team,” Latrobe coach Mark Mears said. “We came up short, but it was a learning experience.

“I think our entire team needs to pick it up. We have to learn to work hard every day in the room. I did see some good things from some of the wrestlers.”

The Wildcats, ranked No. 2 behind Waynesburg in the TribHSSN rankings in Class AAA, finished 22nd.

Hempfield coach Vince DeAugustine said his team also needs to get back into the room and work.

The Spartans had two place finishers – senior Briar Priest placed third at 138 and junior Ethan Lebin eighth at 126.

“We were a win away in a couple matches,” DeAugustine said. “Hopefully, we can turn that around at counties.”

The Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association tournament is Jan. 7 and 8 at Kiski Area.

Century mark

Mt. Pleasant’s Dayton Pitzer and Connellsville senior Jared Keslar reached the 100-win mark this week at the Powerade tournament.

Pitzer got his Wednesday in the quarterfinals with a pin.

Keslar got his with an 11-5 win against Morlacci in the 160-pound consolations.

Stouts not first

It was thought that the Stout family (Kellan, Luke and Mac) of Mt. Lebanon were the first three brothers to win a Powerade title.

Turns out, they weren’t. The Manville family of State College, thanks to Pierson’s win at 138, also own that honor. Mason won in 2015 and Carson in 2017 while wrestling for Wyoming Seminary.

Hail to Pitt

Six future Pitt wrestlers had good showings at the Powerade tournament.

Five of the six won medals, including titles by Mt. Pleasant senior Mac Stout (189) and classmate Pitzer (215).

Priest (138) finished third, Connellsville’s Keslar (160) finished fourth and Pine-Richland senior Kelin Laffey (152) placed third.

Laffey pinned future teammate Jack Pletcher of Latrobe in the sixth round of consolations.

Westmoreland placewinners

The county had eight wrestlers earn medals.

Penn-Trafford senior Troy Hohman and Pitzer were champions.

Hohman defeated Malvern Prep sophomore and returning 106-pound champion Jack Consiglio, 4-3, at 120, and Pitzer stopped Blair Academy senior T.J. Stewart, 4-2, in overtime at 215.

Joining Priest as a third-place finisher was Franklin Regional senior Finn Solomon at 145.

Priest defeated Bergen Catholic’s Joe Congra, 3-1; and Solomon whipped Delbarton, N.J., 7-1.

Kilkeary placed fifth while Burrell sophomore Cooper Hornack finished seventh at 113 by defeating Howell, N.J.’s Xavier Ortega, 6-0 and Morlacci seventh at 160 defeating Great Bridge’s Va. Ty Chittum, 7-2.

Lebin was eighth at 126, losing to Wadsworth’s, Ohio, Mason Brugh, 4-0.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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